“A Midsummer Night’s Dream” is a play you can experience almost every summer, because there’s usually a festival staging it somewhere nearby. And they’re always looking for a new approach.
Director Michael Walling makes several smart choices in his Tahoe production. Some are cute. Walling has actor Patrick DeSantis (playing the wannabe entertainer Bottom) growl through a song a la Bruce Springsteen, to the crowd’s delight.
You’ll find all the usual comic episodes capably performed in this show, including Bottom’s transformation into a donkey-headed man.
But what makes this “Dream” stand out is the use of Native American themes in a gorgeous outdoor setting. The mischievous spirit Puck becomes a Coyote-like trickster. Titania carries a papoose. And flutist Kelvin Mockingbird performs haunting solos.
With the moon in the expansive sky, and the silver light glistening on the lake, this production moves from comedy into a spiritual dimension, presenting Shakespeare’s nature poetry in a new light.
The finale is part tribal ritual, and it’s lovely, almost cosmic. It’s a fresh, satisfying take on this familiar play.
The Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival continues at Sand Harbor State Park through August 17th.